A SUSPECT who threatened a motorist with a knife and ordered him to speed away from police during a dramatic pursuit and carjacking has been caught on camera.
The wanted man had already led police on a pursuit, crashed a stolen car into another vehicle carrying an elderly couple and twice pulled a knife on an off-duty officer.
But possibly his most brazen and serious crime was when he jumped into the passenger seat of a Land Rover Defender and threatened to stab the 36-year-old driver if he did not speed away from chasing police.
The drama began about 3.30pm on Sunday when a highway patrol tried to pull over a Honda Prelude car at Jesmond for speeding.
The driver sped off and checks revealed the vehicle had been stolen from Lake Munmorah and its driver had failed to pay for fuel at Killarney Vale.
As the pursuit arrived at Hexham, the Honda crashed into another car with an elderly couple inside before careering into a tree near the Hunter River. The couple were taken to John Hunter Hospital with minor injuries.
The suspect ran away, only to be tackled by an off-duty officer on whom he pulled a knife, wrestled free and attempted to swim across the Hunter River to Ash Island.
He turned back to the embankment and broke free of a second altercation with the officer before getting into the passenger side of the Land Rover and ordering the driver to ‘‘evade police’’.
The pair travelled towards Maitland before the driver was able to escape near Ashtonfield. He suffered a minor leg injury.
Newcastle City detectives last night released security vision from the Lake Munmorah service station, where the stolen car was filled up and its occupant paid for fuel.
The wanted man from the carjacking is described as being of Caucasian appearance, aged in his mid to late 20s, about 175 centimetres tall, with a fair and freckled complexion, and short-cut red hair.
Information should be forwarded to Newcastle City detectives on 49290999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.
How the event unfolded
1. Honda Prelude stolen from Lake Munmorah
2. Suspect fails to pay for fuel at a Killarney Vale service station
3. Prelude detected speeding at Jesmond and police pursuit begins
4. Car travels onto wrong side of New England Highway at Hexham and collides with car with elderly couple on board
5. Man wrestles with off-duty police officer before diving into Hunter River to swim to Ash Island
6. Returns to bank to again scuffle with officer and threatens him with knife
7. Suspect carjacks a Land Rover Defender and threatens 36-year-old male driver with knife and demands he drive off
8. Land Rover driver jumps clear of car as it slows near intersection with South Seas Drive at Ashtonfield